To paraphrase Mark Twain, the death of direct mail (DM) has been greatly exaggerated. After years of dire predictions that DM will wither in our electronic age, response rates are growing and new DM technologies are making the mailbox the new place to be. Here are a few reasons why you should be adding new, cutting-edge DM to your marketing plans:
- It’s more targetable – technology is changing the landscape of direct mail. Over the years, marketers have collected vast amounts of data on consumers and the ability to deliver targeted messages via direct mail has improved significantly. This means that marketers no longer have to cast a wide net with a single offer. They now have the ability to send personalized offers that resonate with the consumer, improving the likelihood of response.
- It’s more cost effective –Improvements in printing techniques, such as 4-color digital, allow marketers to more cost effectively print short runs for smaller, targeted campaigns. In addition, pre-sort services, commingling opportunities and the ability to drive mail deep into the mail system all save time and reduce postage costs.
- It’s more personal – according to the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA’s) first attitudinal print tracking report, 74% of surveyed consumers reported that personalization in DM is important to them. These same consumers feel that direct mail affords more security and privacy than digital communications. And it’s no wonder – just look at the recent spate of security breaches and phishing scams that make consumers more leery of opening unsolicited emails. David Gaull, Director of Operations for MKP communications inc. says that “direct mail has another advantage over email, and that is the ability to make it stand out in a consumer’s mail box. Marketers can create direct mail that is intriguing and makes recipients want to open. In addition, mail can work in conjunction with digital initiatives, either pre- or post delivery, driving a consumer to a website for more information and for fulfillment.”
- It’s immediate – according to the DMA’s 2014 statistical fact book, 70% to 80% of consumers polled say they open most of their mail, including solicitations. The USPS reports that 38.4% to 62.8% of household heads—a median of 45.4%—report “immediately” reading direct mail. Compare that to the emails languishing in your spam filter. Looked at them lately?
- It meets legal mandates – While there has been progress in allowing alternate electronic delivery of legally mandated communications, customers must opt-in to receive notices electronically. The challenge of managing multiple delivery options means that financial service providers quite often default to direct mail to ensure they are in compliance with the myriad regulatory mandates.
- It works – The DMA recently reported that the average response rates for direct mail have climbed to 4.4% for both B2B and B2C mailings—considerably higher than industry expectations, and surging past electronic mail’s miserly response rate of just 0.12%. In addition, the report indicates that that the cost per lead of direct mail is in-line with print and pay-per-click, and significantly less than telemarketing.
There is a very healthy place for DM in the marketing mix. The savvy marketer develops marketing programs that reach customers and prospects where they are, and offers multiple options for responding.
MKP communications inc. is a New York City based communications company that delivers spot-on strategy, smart, fresh creative, combined with flawless execution, for financial services clients.
It’s safe to say that most small businesses don’t have big marketing budgets. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have big marketing needs. In today’s competitive business environment, small businesses need to be more proactive than ever to ensure that their brand is front and center and their message is heard. Following are tips on marketing your small business without breaking the bank.
- Create an elevator pitch – as a small business owner you are always selling, so be sure to craft a pitch that takes 10 seconds or less and outlines what your business does along with the value-add. Once a prospect is engaged, you have less than a minute, so keep it short, to the point, and have a clearly defined call to action.
- Keep it local – small businesses are inherently local so it is important to be involved in your community. Join the rotary, sponsor a local team, have a float in the 4th of July parade. Think of creative, inexpensive ways to get your message across to your target customer, all while creating a positive impression.
- Leverage your network – taking care of relationships with your existing customers is key. Competition is stiff, so you want to make sure your existing customers spend their money with you and having a program nurture relationships with existing customers is key. Create a “friends and family discount” and extend it to your regulars; it doesn’t have to be a large, but it will leave a big impression. If the opportunity is right, ask your customers if they know anyone they would feel comfortable referring to you. Remember, converting a warm lead is much easier than trying to win over a “cold” prospect. Talk to your customers on a regular basis – an email newsletter is always a good way to keep in touch. Cover a variety of topics that customers and prospects might find interesting; they should be relevant to your business, but feel free to mix it up at times.
- Position yourself and your company as subject matter experts – attend conferences that are important within your industry and see if you can’t finagle an invitation from the promoters to participate in panel discussions. Create content that your client base and prospects will find relevant and that will help them solve problems. You want to be the person people turn to when they need something, and if you are an acknowledged “expert”, people are more likely to seek you out. And think about becoming a resource for the media. They are always looking for commentary. Check out Help a Reporter Out at helpareporter.com
- Play in in the digital arena – build a website and make sure it is findable. There are a number of free website tools, such as Word Press or Wix that you can use to create your site. Check out Moz.com for keys to optimizing your site for search.
In addition, set up accounts on Social Media properties such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or Twitter. As you can imagine, there are a number of options, so find one or two you feel comfortable with and participate on a regular basis. Explore opportunities for promoting your business on social media – for example, Facebook has a widget for setting up contests and promotions so if your goal is to increase your online awareness as well as drive traffic into your store, set up a contest where a visitor can “like” your page and download a coupon for 10% off their 1st purchase.
We know that your primary focus is running your business and these strategies and tactics may seem overwhelming. It all doesn’t need to happen at once. Start small and as you feel comfortable and see results, expand your efforts. And remember, consistency is key.
MKP communications inc. is a New York City based communications company that delivers spot-on strategy, smart, fresh creative, along with flawless execution for financial services clients.